wesleyan

Joss Whedon’s 2013 Wesleyan commencement speech:

So here’s the thing about changing the world. It turns out that’s not even the question, because you don’t have a choice. You are going to change the world because that is actually what the world is.

You do not pass through this life, it passes through you. You experience it, you interpret it, you act, and then it is different. That happens constantly. You are changing the world. You always have been.

And now it becomes real on a level that it hasn’t been before.

The full transcript.

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May 24, 2015:

I’ve written a new musical entitled Hamilton; it’s opening on Broadway this summer. There are lots of characters in the show, but I want to talk about two of them in particular, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. On the surface, these men had a lot in common: They were both orphaned at a young age, though Burr grew up in wealth and privilege in New England, Hamilton in poverty in the Caribbean. Both prodigious students, revered commanders in the Revolutionary War, expert lawyers, respected politicians, innovative businessmen, until 1804 when one kills another in a duel. This duel is their most famous act, linking them together forever.

The engine of my new musical is the fact that Hamilton and Burr both hear that ticking clock of mortality at a very young age, and the way in which they choose to live in the FACE of that knowledge puts them in a collision course from the moment they meet. I’m going to sing a little bit, so if you made a bet that I’d be rapping during the Commencement address, your friend owes you money. Or points.

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THIS. FUCKING THIS OH MY GOD. CHILLS.

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Wesleyan University - “We Made It”

“The past was once true, and the future may be at one point, but as of now? They’re both imaginary.”


One of the most original and uplifting group pieces we saw last week at CUPSI. Zach Goldberg, Evan Okun, and Lily Myers of Wesleyan performing during semifinals.

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On Sept. 23, Tony Award-winning composer/lyricist and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 spoke about the creation of the musical In The Heights during his time at Wesleyan. His talk, “When You’re Home: A Look Back at the Origins of In the Heights,” was sponsored by the Theater Department and Center for the Arts. n the Heights tells the universal story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood — a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures. The musical is the winner of the 2008 Tony Awards for “Best Musical,” “Best Original Score” (Miranda ’02), “Best Choreography,” and “Best Orchestrations” (Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman ’02).

Miranda sang a song from a musical he did at Westco Café, some melodies that were cut from the Wes version of In the Heights, and some new songs from his upcoming musical Hamilton at the Public Theater in New York City. He also talked about his theater experiences at Wesleyan and answered questions about writing musicals, the evolution of In the Heights from Wesleyan to off-Broadway to Broadway, acting and performing, composing songs for the Tony Awards, and how to keep the creative juices flowing.

“I’m an MC, and, with most female rappers, you’re either uber sexy and taking off all of your clothes or you’re wearing every single piece of clothing you could possibly wear. I’m in the middle: sometimes I want to be super sexy and sometimes I want to wear my hoodie and jeans…. I have a Latino and Caribbean background. A lot of the women consider whiteness the aesthetic to be. They don’t want to be too dark or have kinky hair (whatever that means). For me, there’s bigger issues that I care about in the world than just my hair…. I went to Wesleyan, a primarily white school. Sometimes, we’d be walking down the street and someone would shout, ‘Nigger!’ A black teacher told me that I wasn’t going to graduate because I went to a bad high school. She said I was a quota and that I’d need to work 40 times as hard. I appreciated that she kept it 100 with me. I was the B-girl coming to class with my headphones on. I guess, she might’ve saw herself back in the day. When she said that, it hurt, but it made me want to go hard in school. When I graduated, I gave a class speech, and she was in the front row. My whole life is about proving people wrong, and that’s dope…. I was combating against drug dealing in my community when I found out my dad was dealing. But I couldn’t be mad at him because this was the same man who’s feeding me and putting clothes on my back. He wasn’t flashy, he was just a humble dude. He was an immigrant without papers… I feel vulnerable when my mom is sad. She had me when she was 18. She feels like she needs more in life. But she’s really private, and I understand, because sometimes when I’m sad I don’t want anybody talking to me either… Blackness is mysterious, real, and from the earth. Even with everything going on, it’s still concealed. People have to reach out to know us, and that’s beautiful…. My body is honest. I’m not trying to put in no boobs in or ass. I just want to stay like this." 

– Latasha Alcindor in our new episode of the What’s Underneath Project!

So here’s the thing about changing the world,” he said, “It turns out that’s not even the question, because you don’t have a choice. You are going to change the world, because that is actually what the world is. You do not pass through this life, it passes through you. You experience it, you interpret it, you act, and then it is different. That happens constantly. You are changing the world. You always have been, and now, it becomes real on a level that it hasn’t been before.
—  Joss Whedon’s commencement address was great.
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Joss Whedon’s Wesleyan commencement speech: a fun bummer. A fummer?